Republican Rep. Scott Taylor's Campaign Staff Implicated In Collecting Fraudulent Signatures For
US Congressman Scott Taylor, who represents Virginia's 2nd District, is facing an increasing difficult re-election campaign against Democrat Elaine Luria, a former Naval Officer. To ensure Taylor's re-election, members of his campaign staff gathered signatures for a third-party "spoiler" candidate, Shaun Brown, who they believed would siphon votes from Luria. However, Taylor's campaign officials took some short cuts and a substantial number of the signatures they collected were forgeries.
Yesterday, a judge in Richmond, VA removed Brown from the ballot finding "out-and-out fraud” in the signatures Taylor's campaign staff collected for Brown.
Richmond Times Dispatch: Richmond Circuit Judge Gregory L. Rupe ruled that independent Shaun Brown should be removed from the 2nd Congressional District ballot. Campaign staffers for Taylor helped gather signatures required to get Brown on the ballot. Investigations by news media and the Democratic Party showed forged signatures, including from voters who had died or no longer lived in the congressional district.
There is no evidence that Rep. Taylor knew of or directed the plan. However, a criminal investigation into the plot is also underway and yesterday the Taylor staffers who were implicated in collecting the fraudulent signatures invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Richmond Times Dispatch: "A criminal investigation into ballot fraud by a special prosecutor, Roanoke Commonwealth’s Attorney Donald Caldwell, is active. A Virginia State Police investigator sat in the courtroom Wednesday to hear evidence from the civil case." ...
..."The four Taylor staffers signed affidavits filed with the court saying that if they were called to testify and asked if signatures were forged and whether Taylor directed the effort to collect signatures for Brown, they would invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination."
Scott Taylor's seat had been seen as a fairly safe one for Republicans, but it's increasingly looking to be a toss-up with Brown off the ballot and the ongoing investigation into the Taylor Campaign.
The most interesting question regarding this whole fiasco has to be why Taylor's campaign staff didn't just gather the signatures legitimately. They only needed 1000 to get her on the ballot. Was it simple laziness? Hubris?